MONTREAL - Team first has been Bob Gainey's philosophy from his playing days through his time in hockey management. With the creation of a foundation in their family's honor, the Canadiens' GM and his three children again proved the Gaineys come down to one thing - teamwork.
Flanked by his daughters Anna and Colleen and his son Stephen, Bob unveiled the Gainey Foundation, an initiative aimed to help community-based charitable organizations in honor of their late mother Cathy and sister Laura.
"In memory of the family members who are no longer with us, we came up with the basis for this foundation," said Gainey. "This effort is still coming together but our hope is to help groups and individuals at the grass roots level in the community. Those who cannot count on the type of support we were able to lean on during this most difficult time for our family."
The Foundation's particular emphasis of will be put on causes like education, the arts and the environment, issues that reflect the interests of both Laura and Cathy Gainey, the family's second-eldest daughter lost in December following an accident at sea, and Bob's late wife who succumbed after a brave five-year battle with brain cancer in 1995.
"This is something that will bring us even closer together, provide direction for our family and give us a way to remember my mom and sister," said Anna, Bob's eldest daughter. "We feel my father's strength and support every day and it's been that way from Day 1."
Given the floor, Colleen picked up where her big sister left off.
"My father's strength is something I learned from him," said Colleen, the baby of the family. "He guides me in all of my decisions and he's the best dad."
With the tough task of following up the eloquence of his sisters, Stephen didn't disappoint as his proud father looked on.
"My dad has done so much for all of us," said Stephen, a former NHLer who first addressed the media in fluent French before adding a few words in English. "This just felt like the right time to let everyone know how happy we are to have him and how proud we are to call him our father."
Still getting off the ground, the Gainey Foundation has a lot of work to do in order to reach its goals, which suits Anna just fine. Bob's oldest daughter has already settled into an office at the Bell Centre where she will continue to work closely with her dad.
"We've all seen what find of impact the Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation has had and that can only help us with this project," Bob said. "The next step is to define our direction and in time we will see what kind of difference we can make."
With not one but four Gaineys at the helm, the Gainey Foundation needn't worry about that.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com